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'Relentless Iga' Leaves Raducanu Motivated to Improve

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday March 15, 2023

Emma Raducanu came to the California desert with very low expectations, not quite feeling 100 percent and certainly not at peak fitness.

Tennis Express

Three impressive wins later she found herself across the net from a litmus test the likes of which the WTA has not seen for several years.

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek bullied Raducanu around the court 6-3, 6-1, in slow, heavy conditions on Tuesday night at the BNP Paribas Open. But the Brit leaves the tournament feeling that there are brighter days ahead.

“It feels good. Gives me confidence,” Raducanu said of the big wins she earned over higher-ranked players – 62nd-ranked Danka Kovinic in the first round, 21st-ranked Magda Linette in the second and 13th-ranked Beatriz Haddad Maia in the third. “I think especially because of where I was before this tournament, I didn't think I would even play, to be honest. But to have played and then won three rounds and beaten two amazing opponents, yeah, I'm very proud of myself."

Raducanu could only manage four games against juggernaut Swiatek, but she played well in the beginning of each set and at least came away with the knowledge of how good she would need to be, physically, tactically and execution-wise, to reach that level.

“Now it's just about consistent work to physically get to where I want to be,” she said. “Yeah, I saw a taste of the level where No. 1 is at physically and how she is at the corners, repetitive, relentless. Yeah, I just couldn't take that.”

Raducanu admitted that a rough run of injuries has not allowed her to train the way she needs to. The 20-year-old is looking to remedy that immediately, and spoke of her desire to make her fitness a calling card.

“When I'm telling you I haven't trained, like I haven't trained,” she said with a smile. “Physically I feel like that's going to be one of my biggest assets. My team has spoken about it. I think that I'm going to be, like, one of the best athletes on the tour, and that's going to be a big part of my game.

“I would say there is a very long way to go, but I'm definitely starting the right work now.”